Positioning is to me one of the most important concepts in business strategy and tactics. It’s a critical outcome of the IMO strategy I recommend in Set Your Strategy. It’s also vital to marketing strategy, your marketing plan, and related tactics.
The essence is in this simple diagram from the Kotler Marketing Management textbook, which served a generation of MBA students. Consider positioning of the various options for an American breakfast, as originally drawn by Kotler:
With proper positioning, the business that does any one of these options stays clear on the value of its business offering and how it’s different from all others. Instant breakfast is fast and cheap, so it doesn’t compete with bacon and eggs. Positioning is the key to the buzzword of differentiation – business survives by being a big frog in a small pond. Trying to please everybody is a recipe for disaster.
Strategy is focus. And positioning puts focus on a map.